The average internet user spends more than 144 minutes on social media every day. Users from younger generations — millennials and Gen Zers — are likely to spend even more time on social media through browsing, networking and interacting with brands.
Social media marketing is almost essential to the success of any modern business. But for smaller businesses, it can be hard to figure out the best way to take advantage of social media in your advertising.
These social media tips can help any small business owner or solopreneur attract new customers and grow their sales.
How to Grow Your Small Business Sales By Harnessing the Power of Social Media
1. Know Your Audience
Audience research is one of the best places to start when building a social media strategy.
Without knowing your audience, you won’t be able to tell which platform is right for you, when to post or what kind of content to show off. You may also have a harder time creating effective visuals or structuring social media campaigns.
Fortunately, social media is also a great place to learn more about your customer base.
Engagement on your posts, for example, can give you a sense of what your customers are really interested in. This can help you fine-tune your posting strategy and build a more effective content calendar.
2. Pick the Right Platform
Not every social media platform will be right for your business. Demographics vary pretty significantly across platforms. The same goes for the features they offer.
If you want to pick the right platform, start by researching how demographics break down across social media sites. Facebook, for example, tends to attract an older crowd, while user bases for platforms like TikTok and Instagram skew younger.
Knowing your audience will help here. If you have a strong sense of your audience’s demographics, you can just pick the platform whose user base lines up with the people you’re already after.
3. Use Strong Visuals
Social media algorithms tend to favor images and videos — meaning that text-only posts may be deprioritized on users’ feeds.
Adding images or videos to your posts is a great way to help expand their reach. If you can’t create your own images, using a free stock photo resource or purchasing graphics may be a good move to start with.
Over time, if you see significant returns on your social media marketing, you could branch out and even consider commissioning videos or graphics for your page.
4. Automate With Social Media Tools
Social media tools make it much easier for brands to manage their accounts — and many platforms provide their own tool sets specifically for this purpose.
For example, Twitter provides its own tweet-scheduling and account management platform via Tweetdeck. You can also use one of the many available third-party Twitter tools, like Hootsuite or Buffer.
These tools make it much easier to schedule tweets and manage multiple accounts than the default Twitter UI. They also come with special analytics features that help you plan the best time to post and figure out what content really draws your audience’s attention.
Finding similar tools for your platform of choice is a good move if you want to make managing your page a little easier.
5. Market for Conversion
When you have limited resources — and especially if you’re a small business or solopreneur — you need to make every new lead count.
Whenever you can, be sure to follow up on social media leads and avoid common mistakes that lead to customers falling out of your sales funnel.
This will help ensure you get the most conversions possible out of your social media marketing efforts.
6. Share Valuable Content
It’s important that you use your social media presence to do more than just try to sell your product. As the saying goes, customers hate to be sold to, but love to buy.
A great way to expand your page’s variety is with relevant content that’s valuable to your audience.
Ideally, some of this content will be your own. Articles, blog posts and graphics from your site can help make your page a more well-rounded follow. You can also use your accounts to highlight content you’ve had published in relevant journals or online magazines.
Sharing this content will help drive traffic to your business site while providing value to your audience.
7. Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities
Strong relationships with other businesses and entrepreneurs can pay off big over time. The right relationship may open up business partnerships or help you plan an event or new offering.
You can use social media to network and team up with other companies — helping you create more effective advertising while building business relationships.
8. Observe the Competition
Often, it’s a good strategy to observe how your competition is approaching social media. Following your competition — though maybe not literally — will give you the chance to see how others are using social media to market in your niche.
This research can help you change up your approach to social media, so you can do a better job of standing out or crafting a more effective unique selling proposition (USP).
9. Stay Consistent
Regular posts are a great way to improve brand recognition while building a distinct tone for your page.
Social media algorithms also sometimes prefer accounts that regularly post.
This doesn’t mean you have to post all the time. Even posting just once a day to show that your business is active can be a serious help.
Growing Your Small Business Brand With Social Media
Social media is one of the best ways for a small business to reach more customers and grow sales.
Simple practices — like audience research, use of visuals and content posting — can go a long way in making your use of social media more effective. Post the right way, and you can gain followers, drive traffic and help guarantee additional conversions.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.